“André, you’re never going to believe this,” Kristen begins, closing the door behind her.
“Believe what?” André asks.
“It’s about Mimi.”
André frowns. “What about her?”
“The woman who’s been staying here pretending to be Mimi... it’s not Mimi.”
“What do you mean, it’s not Mimi, of course it’s Mimi,” André protests. “Who else would it be?”
“Look, this is going to sound really incredible, but I swear it’s true,” Kristen insists. “She’s Mimi’s twin sister Lisa, and she has Mimi locked in the secret room.”
“The secret room? What are you talking about? Kristen, that’s crazy. Mimi doesn’t have a twin sister, and even if she did, why would she lock Mimi in a secret room?”
“André, I know it sounds crazy but it’s true. I heard her talking to Mimi through the remote monitor, she must’ve found the room while we were gone.”
André walks to the other side of the room. “Kristen, I don’t know why you’re saying these things. I mean, I know you and Mimi haven’t always gotten along, and it seems to have gotten worse lately, but--”
“This has nothing to do with that, André, I’m telling you the woman downstairs is not Mimi! And I can prove it to you. The real Mimi is locked in a secret room in the library, if we go there you’ll see.”
“How am I supposed to explain this to Mimi, she’s my friend--”
“And I’m your wife!” Kristen yells. “Which one of us do you believe?”
André hesitates only a moment. “Okay, we’ll go to the secret room....”
The moment Emilia arrives at the palazzo, she knows something is wrong. She sees Stefano arguing with a man she does not recognize, and there is no sign of Marlena, Adriano or Cristina. Several cortegiani and donne di palazzo are watching the dispute, apparently uncertain what to do, as Emilia approaches one of the onlookers.
“What is going on here, Caterina?” she asks.
“I am not sure,” Caterina replies, looking back at John. “He claims that la contessa Marlena was brought here against her will, and that he will not leave until he finds her.”“I knew it! I knew something was wrong,” Emilia exclaims. “Come, Caterina, we must find Marlena!”
Marlena looks around at the four walls of the small room. Stefano said he was just trying to protect her, yet she can’t help feeling like a prisoner. Worse, she feels as though this is not the first time she has been kept prisoner this way. Visions of other rooms flash through her mind, and visions of Stefano... Stefano! Suddenly the name brings back floods of memories and Marlena gasps as she is overwhelmed by a sense of horror and revulsion. What has he done to me? she wonders in terror....
“I’m not going anywhere until you tell me what you’ve done with Doc!” John yells. He has seen Josh and Tessa go off by themselves. If he can keep Stefano distracted long enough, maybe they can find Marlena. And if they can’t, he will find a way.
“I told you John, she is not here. Now if you and your friends would kindly leave...” Stefano stops as he looks around and sees none of the others the cortegiano had told him about. Even Adriano and Cristina are missing....
“Something wrong, DiMera?” John asks, raising an eyebrow.
“Where are the others?” Stefano demands.
“Looking for Marlena as we speak,” John replies smugly. “We’re gonna find her and there’s nothing you can do to stop us.”
“You can search this palazzo from top to bottom, you’ll never find her!” Stefano thunders before storming off in a rage. Where is everyone? he wonders angrily. First Mimi disappears, and now Adriano and Cristina.... He needs to make John and the others disappear. Send them back to their own time, permanently. And he’s betting that this device he took from Marlena’s friend in the library will help him do just that. But he must be careful not to get sent back himself. If Mimi were here, he could send her back instead. Still, he will find a way. They will never take Marlena from him. Never....
“Adriano,” Cristina says, taking her brother aside, “I think you should hear what these people have to say. They claim to be Marlena’s friends and I see no reason to doubt them.”
“But Stefano said--”
“I know what Stefano said, but I think you should listen to them all the same.”
“That is only fair,” Adriano decides as he and Cristina join the others....
I’ve got to find a way out of here, Mimi thinks, before Kristen kills Lisa... or vice versa. Now she knows the murder she has come to prevent. But is she too late? Feeling along the walls, Mimi finally finds a latch and a door opens! Cautiously Mimi steps out into a dark room and feels for a light switch. When she turns it on she is horrified to see Kristen lying in a pool of blood! “Kristen!” she yells, running over to the body and finding a bloody knife beside it. It is too late! she realizes as she picks up the knife.
“Mimi, what have you done?” André asks, horrified as he sees her standing over the body with the murder weapon in hand.
“André, no, I didn’t--”
“You’ve killed her!” he screams, rushing over and kneeling beside Kristen’s lifeless form. “How could you?”
At that moment, Stefano appears in the doorway!
“Stefano, I didn’t kill her, I tried to save her!” Mimi cries in despair....
“No!” Mimi yells aloud, shaking her head to clear the nightmarish images from her mind. It was just a hallucination, but it could well become a reality if she can’t escape from the room. She must not let that happen! I’ve come too far now, she thinks, I’ve given up everything to save Kristen and I’m not going to let her kill Lisa or be killed by her. She looks again around the room, at the monitor, and begins to see it in a new light....
“...John... find Marlena....” Josh mumbles incoherently as he comes to and opens his eyes. Darkness surrounds him, except for a single candle in its holder several feet away. The silence is absolute, and there is the most peculiar smell.... Where am I? he wonders. He remembers struggling with Franco, who must have knocked him out because he can’t remember anything after they left the palazzo. The gag is out of his mouth, but his wrists and ankles are still tied. Experimentally he rubs his wrists together and discovers that the bonds are not so tight that he can’t work them loose with some effort, and after a few minutes he succeeds in freeing his hands. Untying his feet, he stands and walks over to pick up the candle. I have to tell John where Marlena is, he thinks, reaching for his transmitter, and then remembers that Stefano took it. I have to find John and tell him.... Taking the candle, he looks around the room for a way out, and recoils in horror as he sees the sarcophagus in the shadows....
To be continued....
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